Sneak Peeks October 17th 2019

Happy Thursday! Our designers have a TON of new releases coming out tomorrow! Let’s take a peek!

From Dagilicious

From Clever Monkey Graphics

From JoCee

From Tinci

From CathyK

From JB Studio

From Lindsay Jane

From Heather Z


From Aimee Harrison


From Miss Fish

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements 2018+)

Background Check

Well, this didn’t turn out to be the fantabulous tutorial I had planned… let it be a cautionary tale instead! (I seem to be providing a lot of those lately.) What I was hoping would be simple and fun turned out to be more work than I expected, but it’s all good. I learned a few things while I was doing it and can provide tips for you to make it better for you. And that’s the goal with these tuts, right?

Starting with Photoshop Elements 2018, a Guided Edit for replacing an undesirable background was included in the Special Edits menu. I have SO many photos with blown-out skies that I’d love to replace with something more attractive, so I pulled one out of my Ireland 2018 folder. Let me say right now that next time I do this, I’ll be making some changes in how I do it. I’ll describe those changes as I go along.

So here’s my base photo, the one I want to improve on. The sky is pretty blown-out; this can be prevented in-camera through the use of neutral density filters, but I haven’t mastered that technique yet. It’s on my list… Anyway, I thought this would be a fairly simple edit, since the foreground is fairly sharply defined. When you try this, you might want to avoid trees. Just sayin’.

I tried the Auto selection tool but felt like it lacked control so I backed up and went with the Quick selection tool instead. It worked pretty well, for the most part. With a little more patience at this stage, I might have saved some time and effort later but that’s all part of the learning curve. I think the Brush tool might have been a better choice, and I’ll be trying that out in future edits.

Once I’d brought most of the foreground image into the selection, it was time for fine-tuning. See the marching ants along the roofline? The spruce in the foreground extends past the roof and needs to be included in the image. The trees on the far left are inside the selection already but will need some tweaking too.

When I moved to the Refine selection tool, the selected area turned red. The settings for this are customizable; I went with the defaults. With the mask at 80% Opacity, I can see where the mask obscures areas I want to include, and the white area is where I need to extend the selection.

I found this part of the process to be a little frustrating. I couldn’t zoom in to see what I was doing. The Refine tool is supposed to “snap” to the outline where two colours abut, and perhaps if I changed the tool setting for Snap Strength to 100% it might have worked better for me. Having gone through the whole Edit, this is where I would choose to spend my time Refining in future.

At this point, I went ahead and chose the photo with the desired background by clicking on the Import a photo bar. It opened up the folder where I got my original image, and lucky for me, there were a few choices of a nicer background in there. But it would be easy enough to go to a different folder and pick something there.

I had this lovely landscape of blue sky with puffy white clouds that will fill the selected area beautifully. So I selected it and clicked Place. If I didn’t have a photo with something nice that would work, I could have used one of the Presets or a solid colour, or nothing at all.

One click and this is where I found myself! If you don’t look to closely, it looks pretty good. But there are still some obvious white patches at the ends of the spruce branches.

So I zoomed in a bit and clicked on the Refine Edge Brush then Subtract. (Add would just uncover more of the blown-out sky.) Then I started bringing the blue sky up to the edges of the branches. I used a smallish brush and 100% Opacity. And it took FOREVER!

Extreme zoom was helpful at times, and not so much at others. Add in the unreliability of my “left-click” bar on the touchpad and you can see how it was a time suck. And frustrating. But I did get a better handle on how much pressure is needed to engage the “left-click” bar and keep it engaged.

One thing I found disconcerting, and a bit annoying, was that when I used the Hand tool to move the zoomed image around, the Refine Edge Brush looked like it was still active, but it wasn’t. Clicking again on the Hand tool didn’t turn it off, and I never thought to try clicking on the magnifying glass to see if that would work. Next time! At any rate, each time I moved the zoomed image, I had to deselect the Refine Edge Brush, REselect it and resize the tip to make it more controllable. I can see there needs to be some more experimentation with this Edit.

Eventually, I was happy with what I was seeing, both up close and from a distance. There’s still a little bit of a glow around the farthest-left-most tree, but it’s not obvious.

There’s one last option in this Edit, the Auto Match Color Tone tool. I decided to click it to see what it does.

Ick!! It lightened and softened the image too much!! So I Undid that step.

Now that I’m satisfied with my results I had another choice to make, what to do with it now. I chose to Save As it, with a new name so I’d know I’d edited it. But if I was ready to use it for a layout, I could have clicked on a Continue Editing bar and carried on.

I know I’ll use this Guided Edit again, with the suggestions I’ve made firmly in mind. If I discover anything new, I’ll come back and edit this post to keep you all up to speed.

Did you notice anything about this tutorial? The screenshots are so much bigger than usual – I learned something new about WordPress today!! I used the Windows Snipping Tool as Lori (teamkobza) suggested a couple of weeks back and it was less work than my previous method, so that’s a bonus. And then… when I imported them into WordPress, they were tiny; resizing them within WP made them really blurry. Then I noticed an advanced edit option that let me choose the original image size. BOOM! <doing the happy dance all over the living room>

See you next week!!

~October Featured Designer – Studio Jx2~

Happy (Northern Hemisphere) Fall!!! It’s finally cooling down where I am and I’m so happy. It was becoming ridiculous.

This month we have a treat. Our featured designer is Studio Jx2, which is a collaboration of the lovely Jennifer (Luv Ewe Designs) and JoyLynn (Blue Heart Scraps). I asked them both the same questions and thought I would do this Q & A session a little differently. Let’s see what they had to say.

How long have you been designing?

Jennifer: 11 years.

JoyLynn: Just over 8 years — holy moly!

What made you decide to design?

Jen: I started making siggies on Cafemom years ago and found out about digi scrapping. I used it in making tags. Then I created some stuff myself to go with the orders of the requester. I designed before I made my first layout actually.

JL: I enjoy being able to share a bit of my personality with others through things I create. It’s like therapy, in a way. When I’m sad or down, my products are darker in color and more reserved in theme — when I’m feeling the smiles or love or celebration, everything’s brighter and bolder.

What led you to decide to design together?

Jen: JoyLynn and I did a collab many moons ago. We loved how our designs meshed well (and so did our CTs) so we decided to take on a separate name just for our collabs. We have done too many to count over the years.

JL: We’ve collaborated on projects together a ton of times over the years, and always enjoyed how our styles blended together. Opening a new store for just our collaborations was a way to showcase them separately, because we LOVE them all!

What do you use to create your designs (program, additional tools, etc.)?

Jen: Photoshop Creative Cloud and starting on Illustrator.

JL: Adobe Photoshop (still using CS5, because it’s not broken and I’m too lazy to figure out a newer version, lol), Illustrator, Wacom Tablet.

Describe your design workplace.

Jen: My area is a table given to me by my grandma. She used it when she did her homework. There are still ink stains on it that give it character. And my desktops sits on that. Not really fancy.

JL: Lately, I’ve been horrible, and worked a LOT in my bed, lol! I have a wooden lap table that holds my laptop, a huge tile that holds my mouse and tablet, and then the rest of my garbage (pencils and paper for 4839248302483209 To Do lists each week, drink, remotes, everything else) is scattered on the bed or on a side table. It’s been too hot for my craft table in the garage (thank you 100 degrees in October!), the kids take up too much room on the kitchen table, and I haven’t replaced the desk table I got rid of over the summer. It’s…an adventure, lol.

What motivates and inspires you as a designer?

Jen: Many things. Might be a picture and I love the colors in it. It might be a song I have stuck in my head. You just never know.

JL: Enjoying the process, seeing all of the beautiful creations people make with our products. It’s very humbling to be a part of how they choose to remember their lives.

What is your favorite kit currently in your GS store and why?

Jen: Be Balanced. I love the colors and we all need to be more balanced in our lives. We are all so crazy, busy and need to slow down.

JL: Though I honestly love all of our collabs, my current favorite may be the Be (Im)Perfect Kit. The colors are gorgeous, I LOVE the idea behind it that nothing is perfect, but we can still find beauty in the imperfections

What was your first job?

Jen: Sonic Carhop

JL: Cashier at FoodWorld

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Jen: I did get to meet the Pioneer Woman’s boys when I was at her restaurant.

JL: We’ve had a few college/professional football players from our small town area…but that’s about it. Boring, I know.

What are you reading right now?

Jen: Well I am not much of a reader, so nothing at this time.

JL: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (the 2nd book in the Unearthly series)

What is your favorite quote?

Jen: You can do anything, but not everything.

JL: Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky. ~ Hafiz

What is something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

Jen: Hope to go to NYC next year for the Thanksgiving Day parade. Have wanted to go for years.

JL: Actually KEEP a New Year Resolution? lol

You have your own latenight talk show, who do you invite as your first guest?

Jen: Ellen DeGeneres. Absolutely love her. She has a kind heart, is giving and is funny.

JL: P!nk.

If you had to delete all but 3 apps from your smartphone, which ones would you keep?

Jen: Jobulator (my full time job), Facebook and Instagram.

JL: My ereader app (because I try to read a LOT), Photomath (I CAN work out the multi-step Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 homework problems by boys have, but if I can save a little time on homework checks, I’m all about it!), and Facebook — because as draining as social media feels sometimes, it’s the easiest way for my not-always-social self to keep up with those I care about.

If you could have someone follow you around all the time, like a personal assistant, what would you have them do?

Jen: Make lists for me and tried to have them keep me organized.

JL: Talk to people for me?! I’m horrible with my words when it comes to using them verbally (written? I’ve got that down pat!). I get nervous and tongue tied and lose my train of thought.

Would you rather travel back in time to meet your ancestors or to the future to meet your descendants?

Jen: In the past and learn more about my family history.

JL: Future

What commercial jingle gets stuck in your head all the time?

Jen: Like a good neighbor State Farm is there. Not sure why lol.

JL: I try to avoid commercials like the plague — that’s what DVR and the fast forward button is for 😉

If you could turn the ocean into a liquid other than water, which one would you pick?

Jen: Dr. Pepper…yummy.

JL: Sweet Tea. 😉

Thank you ladies so much for “chatting” with me.

Make sure to check out their GingerScraps Store for their beautiful kits. They each also have a Facebook Group and there is always fun things going on there.

Jennifer – Luv Ewe Designs Fan Group –

JoyLynn – Blue Heart Scraps Fan Group –

Have you been grabbing the Daily Download? I love the sentiment of this:

Have a great rest of the month!!

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

What’s Your Digital Style?

Can we talk about style for a minute? We all have a certain style, a concept of ourselves and our environment; that style is reflected in the way we dress, the way we decorate our homes, the way we interact with others… and how we scrap our memories. If you spend any time wandering through the Gallery you’ll know exactly what I mean. There are scrappers whose style is instantly recognizable – you don’t even need to look for the scrapper’s name. But have you ever thought about the basic underpinnings of style? Let’s discuss!

First let’s look at the very popular Pocket Scrapper style. This layout from the GingerScraps Gallery is by ngocNTTD. Pocket scrapping is organized and photo-oriented. It’s one of the most basic of paper-to-digital styles out there, having emerged from Project Life and the various other daily, weekly and monthly project formats. Pages in this style document day-to-day and special events in a clean, grid-based arrangement. Any embellishment will be limited so as not to obscure the all-important photos. As you can see, ngoc has included 10 photos in her layout.


Heritage scrapping is a very popular style, especially for those of us interested in genealogy. Who doesn’t love vintage photos of our ancestors? There’s something very powerful in documenting our past in this way, as craftytam has done in her layout below. These layouts focus on history through the use of muted colours, with a slightly distressed look. Information relating to the life of the subject is a must for these pages, which may be as simple as vital statistics or as detailed as a complete life story. Journaling in hand-written fonts is characteristic.


A combination of these two is the Storyteller style. KatherineWoodin‘s layouts are such perfect examples of this style. Each page tells of a specific event; photos aren’t a requirement but if they’re used, they’re integral to the story being told. There’s a heavy emphasis on journaling, as you can see below. The use of embellishments is dictated by the feeling the scrapper wants to convey.


Classic scrappers rely on clean lines, limited embellishment, precise placement and precise use of words. Layouts are conservative, in several senses – paper scrappers might default to this style because it doesn’t use a lot of “stuff”. In this layout by gethane, the classic style is obvious.


And that leads us to the Modern style. Glori2 has solidly incorporated this style as her own. Modern layouts are the ultimate in clean and simple, which refers to minimalism and not the use of texture and grunge. Embellishments are few, and very carefully chosen. White space is vital to this style, giving the eye many options to rest.


I suppose the opposite of Modern is the Shabby Chic layout. This layout by kabrak1207 is a stellar example of Shabby Chic… muted pastels, vintage elements and ephemera, brushes and worn paper come together to create a visually appealing whole.


The Artist scrapper focuses on the overall image, using paints, brushes, blending and a multi-media approach. Kythe uses a deft hand here, blending not only the photo but also the leaves into her background. Those little ghosts look ethereal and are grounded by the vignette in the foreground. Artist-style layouts don’t rely on journaling to tell a story, and may not include a title either.


The last style is an art-form all on its own. Art Journaling conveys emotion through imagery. There really are no rules in Art Journaling, other than to use it as a way to express things we might not be comfortable expressing in any other form. Rather than putting a feeling into words, the use of word art, word strips, doodles, brushes, paint and textiles are used to tell the story. Intensely personal, this might be the most difficult of all styles to integrate into one’s repertoire, but cinderella has no problem!


Thinking about your own layouts, where does YOUR style fit? It’s quite likely that you aren’t easily pigeon-holed into a single style, but pull different aspects from several into your work. And as time passes, your style will evolve, both as your skills grow and as your world changes. HOW you do it isn’t as important as that you DO it! As for me, I’m still working the kinks out with the new laptop and having some trouble getting comfortable with it. It can only get better, right?


Love and Chaos Ruling This DSD!

“Fillet of a fenny snake,

In the caldron boil and bake;”

Macbeth, Shakespeare

Family. Friends. Life. Love. Chaos. It all plays together and it always creates memories!

There is SO MUCH GOING ON! Scavenger Hunt. Forum games!

And when you spend $20, you get this MEGA COLLAB!

You KNOW you want to get in with the DSD Grab Bags!

Make sure you check out the Scavenger Hunt!

And this is just a sneak of the activities! Make sure you check out the forum for more information:

Remember when you spend $10 in the store, you get a great new collab! There’s something about the changing of the leaves that makes autumn just shimmer.






Messy Edges:

Cozy Comfort Grab Bag:
Mini Kit Grab Bag:


Hello October – Kit
Hello October – Cards
Hello October – Template Pack
Hello October – Bundle


Grab Bag 1:
Grab Bag 2:



Color Roll Ribbons:
Wood Slices No1:
Ornament Caps:


Border Clusters:
Word Art:
Messy Papers:
Plaid Papers:
Flowers and Leaves:




Smell My Feet | Collection:
Smell My Feet | Kit:
Smell My Feet | Alpha:
Smell My Feet | Element Pack:
Smell My Feet | Paper Pack:
Smell My Feet | Alpha Bundle:
Smell My Feet | Finishing Touches:
Smell My Feet | Journal Cards:

Sweater Weather | Collection:
Sweater Weather | Kit:
Sweater Weather | Alpha pack:
Sweater Weather | Element Pack:
Sweater Weather | Paper Pack:
Sweater Weather | Finishing Touches:
Sweater Weather | Pattern Paper Pack:



Bundle –
Kit –
Elements –
Papers –
Alphabets –
Accents –
Journal Cards –
Weathered Wood –
Extra Papers –
Paint –

Mega Kit:
Fall Papers:
Ripped Papers:
Paper Pack:

Mega Kit:
Template Pack:
Fallen Leaves Papers:
Paper Pack:













Journal Cards:
Wood Papers:
Word Art:




DSD 2019 Grab Bag 1 –
DSD 2019 Grab Bag 2 –
DSD 2019 Grab Bag 3 –

Kit –
Clusters –
Painted papers –
Photo-Blended papers –
Solid papers –
Stamps –
Stamps&Bordes –
Masks&Frames –
Full Bundle –

Blurred Photomasks Set1 –
Arbitrary movements Photomasks Set1 –
Watercolor Fantasy Photomasks Set4 –
Masks&Frames Standard Set8 –





Personal Use Shop:
Commercial Use Shop:










JB Studio:
JB Studio Templates:






Cozy Comfort Grab Bag:
Mini Kit Grab Bag:

Remember, if you complete 10 challenges, just ten, you get a free kit as well!!

It’s time for those wonderful moments in nature!

Sneak Peeks DSD edition!

Tomorrow is the start of one of the most awesome weeks in the Digi Scrapping world! It’s DSD weekend! Come back tomorrow to see all the fun, sales and new releases made just for this weekend!

From Tinci


From JB Studio and Aimee Harrison

From CathyK


From Down This Road

From Neia Scraps

From Miss Fish

From JoCee

From Clever Monkey Graphics

From Aprilisa

From Wimpychompers

Check back tomorrow to see what our designers have in store!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Slaying the Green-Eyed Monster

Well, as you can see, I’m more or less back in business. It has been a week from hell, I won’t lie. My new laptop is a different brand, and there are some things I’m still getting used to with it. The left touchpad button is really stiff, which means it doesn’t react the way the old one did, and requires a lot more effort on my part. Saving screenshots isn’t a one-step action on it and it took me a bit of experimenting to find the method that will work best for me. But… when is screenshots, it only captures what’s inside my Elements workspace, so I don’t have to crop them. So I guess it balances out. But… When I open them in WordPress, they’re very small and I’ve had to manually enlarge them, which made them blurry. So next week I’ll be doing something different! More details on the disaster my life has been later. For now, I’ve done a test-run tutorial to work out some of the kinks. It’s short on steps therefore short on screenshots. But it’s getting us back on the road and that’s a good thing.

Flash photography and retinas. They aren’t compatible! The aperture our irises have set is for the level of light in the room, so when the flash goes off, the irises can’t react quickly enough to shut down, and the flash bounces off our retinas, making us look like demented monsters with red eyes. (Considering this is October, it could be a desirable state, but that’s a personal thing!) Human eyes go red in flash photos, animal eyes go a really ugly green-yellow. (If you’re wondering why, animals don’t see the full spectrum of colour, and have very few cone cells in their retinas; they’re the ones that reflect red.) Of course, neither looks particularly attractive. Until Photoshop Elements 12, adjusting pet eyes was a multi-step process and a bit tedious. With PSE 12, all that changed.

Here’s a photo of my grand-dog Lucy. It’s not horrible, but I don’t think I’d scrap it without fixing her eyes. This is such a simple, Quick Edit!

This is the basic workspace for Quick Edits. If you need to make simple adjustments, tweak for red eyes or not-quite-white teeth, this is where you’ll go. Click on the Eye Tool.

Woohoo! There’s even a single-click Pet Eye button that tells the software it’s looking for something other than red.

I like to zoom in so I can really see what I’m doing. (New laptop = 17.3 inch screen!) But look at Lucy… that’s ugly!

One click inside each eye and Elements has eliminated the green-eyed monster! It really is that simple!

Okay, now to get serious again for a minute. My faithful readers will know that I had over 2,000 fonts on my old laptop. When I was able to access the files on it and make a backup to move to the new one, I copied my font folder, along with my styles, brushes and actions, onto my external hard drive. But I didn’t verify that the fonts were actually copied. I discovered THIS MORNING that the folder on the EHD is empty. So I spent several hours re-downloading and reinstalling a bunch of my paid fonts from the Font Bundles website. I’m far from finished – then I have to track down the free fonts I had too. What I’m trying to impart here is that when you’re finished reading this, you should immediately go to your font folder and copy it onto some form of stable storage and then back it up occasionally from now on so you NEVER find yourself following me down the rabbit hole. After you’ve copied the file, make sure the fonts are actually IN the folder! You know I’ll be doing just that later when I’ve recreated my font collection… and backing up everything else too. Time to make some good habits.

Sneak Peeks September 26th 2019

Happy Thursday! Let’s check out a peek of what the designers have cooked up for tomorrow!

From Dagiclious

From Down this Road

From Aimee Harrison

From Tinci

From JoCee

From Snickerdoodle Design

Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Well, It was Bound to Happen…

For awhile my laptop has been acting up a bit, all things I could ignore. I had planned to back up my files, but of course I kept putting it off. To make a long story short, procrastination is a BAD thing! Yesterday, after yet another protracted Windows update, my laptop became a very expensive door stop. The update somehow deleted a system file that is essential for the proper functioning of the thing. While I’ve been able to get into my files, my laptop is essentially done for without a factory reset. I bought a new one this morning and am diligently retrieving all my important stuff from the brick so that I can install it all on the new one. But considering it took 18 hours to copy just my current digi-scrapping folder it’s going to take some time.

This unpleasant event will have another effect, which is to force me to move completely over to Photoshop Elements 2019 – no sense installing both version 15 and 2019 on the new laptop. What was holding me back was having to reload all my brushes, styles and actions… Now I have to do that anyway. Moving along. Slowly!

My words of wisdom for today: If you haven’t backed up your files in awhile, either to an external hard drive or to the Cloud, plan to do it SOON. Like today! Don’t be like me, forced into action and losing precious productive time. When I’m back up and running on all cylinders, I’ll bring you something flashy and fun, I promise.

Sneak Peeks September 19th 2019

Happy Thursday! It’s also Talk Like a Pirate Day! Our designers have some great new releases coming out tomorrow! Let’s check them out!

From JB Studio

From Tinci


From Down This Road

From JoCee

From Miss Fish


From Aimee Harrison